On this day: Nonito Donaire arrives, scores Knockout of the Year over Vic Darchinyan
It was the left hook from hell.
On July 7, 2007, Nonito Donaire scored his first career-defining triumph and won the first of many world championships when he blasted out pre-fight favorite Vic Darchinyan to capture the IBF flyweight title. The official time was 1:38.
The fight was competitive going into the fifth round with perhaps a slight edge to Donaire. However, the knockout was a stunner. Southpaw Darchinyan left his right jab hanging in the air for much longer than would be advisable when facing a sharp-shooter of Donaire’s undeniable quality. Quick as a flash, a Filipino Flash, the challenger released a pulverizing left hook counter that knocked the Armenian-born fighter senseless.
The result was officially ruled a TKO because the count was waved off as a stricken Darchinyan gamely tried to find his feet. But this was as decisive a finish as you could ever hope to see. The Ring awarded Donaire the Knockout of the Year, as well as Upset of the Year.
“[Darchinyan] walked into the press conference with this Australian helmet and said even with me wearing a helmet I was going to get destroyed,” Donaire told The Ring years later. “To me, from that point, I just turned on the switch and wanted to hurt this guy. When I came to the ring, all I could think about was hurting him, and that took some of the pressure off me winning the belt.
“In the moment when I knocked him down, I still wanted to destroy this guy. I wanted him to get up so I could knock him down again. When I realized that I’d knocked him out, it was such a release and I just jumped around like a crazed madman. ‘Oh my God, I’m world champion.’”